Close

23 July, 2017

Roman Roads of Britain

If you think this would make a cool poster, you can get a high-res, print-worthy PDF for $9!   

Click to enlarge.[/caption]

Here it is, by popular request. This was far more complicated than I had initially anticipated. Not only were there way more Roman Roads in Britain than I initially thought, but also their exact locations and extents are not very clear. In a few places I had to get rather creative with the historical evidence.

Once again the Pelagios digital map was massively helpful to me. Equally as helpful was the site Roman-Britain.co.uk – an absolute treasure trove of information on all things Romano-British.

Like the full Roman map, I had to do some simplifying and make some tough choices on which cities to include. Again I tried to include larger settlements or forts that were mentioned in more than one primary source. Unlike the original Roman Roads map, I was more faithful to the actual geographical location of cities. Cluttered areas around Hampshire and the Midlands did have to be shifted around somewhat.

Apologies for the dry write-up as usual, I don’t have enough time to write a compelling story right now.

FAQ

Why are the names of roads in English?

It’s true, “Watling Street” and “Ermin Way” are not exactly Latin-sounding. Unfortunately the historical Latin names have been completely lost to history. Roman Britain was not as well documented as Italy or Spain, so there is a huge lack of written sources. That’s why the names that we do have are actually Anglo-Saxon, and originated a few centuries after the Romans had left. You can read more about this on Wikipedia.

Why do some stations have English names?

Same reason as above – we’ve found Roman archeological remains there, but we don’t know what the Latin name was.

What are the modern names of the cities?

Here’s a version of the map with modern city names, or the closest towns to where the ruins are.

(I will add to the FAQ as more questions come up)

Leave a Reply

115 Comments on "Roman Roads of Britain"

avatar
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
C
Guest

Thank you for your research.

SIAN Rees
Guest

Hi Sasha, this is brilliant! Can I have a Latin and a modern name version?

Nick Rowe
Guest

Great work! Although I’m not at all sure about Margidunum being ‘Castle Hill’.
Bingham is just south of the original location & is the biggest settlement in the immediate area, while the villages of Newton & East Bridgford are also very close. Never heard of Castle Hill and it doesn’t feature on any maps I’ve seen. I drive through the middle of Margidunum on my commute down the Fosse Way (it’s now the official name of a roundabout junction) and it’s not a hill and there’s no castles nearby.
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@52.9660875,-0.9587986,3738m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

Rick
Guest

I grew up in Radcliffe-on-Trent and, like Nick, I had never heard of Castle Hill. I hadn’t even seen it marked on a map. I came across this which suggests that the field containing Margidunum was called Castle Hill in the Victorian period.

http://www.ournottinghamshire.org.uk/page_id__429_path__0p31p40p171p.aspx

It would make sense in that folk memories of ancient sites often appear in place names. It’s odd, though, that the name seems to have been lost, at least to locals, in the century or so since.

Great work with the maps though.

Richard
Guest

Trying to send by paypal but your pp address does not show up

Steve Jackman
Guest

Thanks for this modern twist on Roman history.. brilliant idea to.use the Lindon Underground format.

Linda Goulden
Guest

What an engaging project! Thank you for undertaking it.
From Linda, Bugge’s Worth, near Aquae Arnemetiae

Kathy Hindle
Guest

Sasha – this is an amazing achievement. Thank you so much. Your novel approach brings an extra dimension to the studies of Romans in Britain. How can I send you the money?
If the Romans were here now, they would have taken total control of all the social media…

David Coull
Guest

Hi, On your English version, the place named Maryport in Scotland is surely Ardoch camp at Braco. Please see this website, which mentions that the garrison was relocated to Maryport, in Cumbria(!) http://www.castlesfortsbattles.co.uk/perth_fife/ardoch_roman_fort.html). I grew up a few yards from where the road north from Ardoch passes through Muthill. Otherwise, an excellent piece of work, as I never knew where most of these roads were – I now live not far south of Corinium, on the northern edge of Swindon.

Nick
Guest

Love it!

Though where is Holme? I see there is one just south of Peterborough, which would put it on the mainline between Cambridge and Lincoln. Equally, there is no branch-line north east from Cambridge towards Ely.

Philip
Guest

Romans 3:23 -> Romans 6:23 -> Romans 5:8 -> Romans 10:9

John
Guest

I live in a village on Watling Street, a few miles east of Durobrivae.

Dominic
Guest

And I live about 15 miles south of Lactodorum, in Milton Keynes, close to the remains of a large and sumptuous Roman villa at Bancroft – it’s a couple of miles east of Watling Street, though, which runs right through the middle of MK!

Brian
Guest

Any chance of a black version? I’d like to use this a lock screen wallpaper for my iPhone 7 Plus…

Idris
Guest

A lovely, and interdsting map, however, where is Anglesey? No roman road perhaps, but still there!

Ben Kane
Guest

Amazing! Kudos to you. I would love a poster of this, and will send you the money. Many thanks! Ben.

Linda Fagence
Guest

Watling Street runs through North Kent.It links Dover to London…sadly omitted from the map😔 A big temple complex was found next to the road when the HS1 line was put in at Ebsfleet.

Sheila O'Connell
Guest

Fascinating maps. Thanks for making them available.
I don’t use paypal as I’ve had a lot of trouble with it (fake emails arrive within hours every time I used it). If you have another way of paying I’d be happy to send money.

Chris Edwards
Guest

I think you will find that most “Roman´´Roads were actually Celtic roads built hundreds of years before the Romans pushed the Celts back up into Northern Europe, they even covered them with wood to make them more comfortable to travel on.
Nice maps though and thanks for all the work!

B
Guest

What does future roads mean? There was archeological evidence that roads were being worked on? Thanks for the map!

Louise K
Guest

This is brilliant, thanks for sharing it. I’ve sent a payment but forgot to include the note “Roman Britain”. Can you see a payment from me and email the PDF over perhaps? Many thanks.

Chris
Guest

You have an Alauna in what is now the Midlands. However I’ve not been able to find any reference to a settlement by that name in that area – all I can find is the one at Maryport, Cumbria, which I believe is the same one by Hadrian’s Wall. Which settlement did you mean for this location please? (by the way I live just down from Tripontium)

Andrew Matheson
Guest

Come and visit our small but perfectly formed Roman Museum here in Alcester – a great collection of Roan finds and free entry!

Dave Malin
Guest

It is now Alcester, Warwickshire. They have a road in the town called Alauna Avenue as a statement. As well as many other roads with a Roman theme.

Christy Buhrmann
Guest

PayPal paid you my $9 dollars for Roman roads but you have never sent or replied to my emails. Please send the PDF!
Check your PayPal listing.

CJ Plank
Guest
Stuart Marshall
Guest

FYI a new road has been discovered between Lancaster and Ribchester http://www.romanroads.org/gazetteer/lancspages.html

Gwenael Henry
Guest

‘Roman’ roads were actually built by the Celts

The myth of straight Roman roads has been exposed by a new book which claims the extraordinary engineering feats were the work of the Celts.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/booknews/10367457/Roman-roads-were-actually-built-by-the-Celts-new-book-claims.html

Owain
Guest

I was actually sat on a bus, on Route IX, when I came across this…how could I not want it!

pam
Guest

I thought the Watling street came through Letocetum basicall the route of the A5..if not there are a lot of roads round here wrongly named

Mat
Guest

This is really interesting. I grew up in Cavsennae (Ancaster) on Ermine Street and Lindum (Lincoln) so was really cool to see how everything interconnects.

Michael New
Guest

I was on season 1 excavation of Durocornovium c1969 under JS Wacher of Leicester University. Whilst this is indicated as Wanborough it was in fact Covingham, Swindon. I suspect that Swindon didn’t exist in Roman times but Wanborough being a small market town close by may well have been a settlement then. The site was a “staging” post for Roman troops on the move along Ermin Way between Cirencester/Gloucester and probably London.

Cathy Simpson
Guest

Ah… John Wacher! I studied archaeology as a subsidiary subject for two years at Leicester…

You are right in that Swindon didn’t exist during Roman times. It was an Anglo-Saxon
settlement (Swine Down) which came to prominence in the industrial revolution. Good to see it’s got its own tube station though!

Nicholas Mitchell
Guest

I too have fond memories of John Wacher in subsidiary archaeology at Leicester!

Joanne
Guest

Sasha,
I have just sent a payment through for the PDF, but I totally forgot to add the Roman Britain comment… Sorry!
Name is Joanne and payment was made on July 25th. Hope that’s enough to find me.
Thanks!

Andrew Duffield
Guest

Mornington Crescent?

If you could possibly produce a version with the modern names in brackets alongside the Roman ones you’d have another customer in me and many more sales besides I suspect.

Bene factum!

Rich
Guest

Interesting project. Well done. Just off Watling Street (A5) near to Atherstone is a village called Mancetter. It’s historically significant as it’s where Boudicca was finally defeated apparently. Might be a nice addition but I’ve no idea what Mancetter was called in Roman times or if it even existed then.

Eddie Wills
Guest

This a very impressive peace of work, which is quite a compliment to you from a resistant Briton such as myself! I would draw your attention to the much over looked link between Vindodadia and Moriconium (Hamworthy) on Poole Harbour, however. It has been suggested that this was the point that Vespasian landed in 43AD to subdue the West Country.

Kevyn
Guest

Fantastic map – however, you have missed the main Roman Chester to York road. You do have the Chester to Manchester link but you have missed the Manchester to York straight to York. It passes through Oldham, the Castleshaw fort, and over the pennies to York.

Kevyn
Guest

As well as the missing road between the major Roman cities of Deva (Chester) and Eboracum (York). I would also bring the Deva (Chester, in orange) line going down straight into London and not to Camulodunum. It makes more sense there would be a direct line. Have the spur to Camulunum as a grey line if needed for aesthetic reasons.

RLJ
Guest

wonderful piece of work

Gill
Guest

How about turning it into an App?

Kathie Dart
Guest

Awesomeness!

What are the “future” lines all about?

Cheers

Hilary Winstanley
Guest

Just paypalled you $9.00 but forgot to put Roman Britain anywhere.

John Denning
Guest

I just sent you a payment on Paypal, but I didn’t see the spot on the page to add a note to you. Please could you send me the pdf? Thanks.

Val Simpkin
Guest

This is wonderful! Would love a T shirt with this! Amazing!

Cathy Simpson
Guest

What a wonderful project! I’m finding this map absolutely fascinating!

Dave Thompson
Guest

Surprised not to find Icknield Way which passes through Letchworth and on towards Dunstable. But I think your map is really good, well done

Brett Walder
Guest

Excellent work there, youth!

The roman route A66 from Scotch Corner to Penrith via Stainmore is also known (and marked on OS maps) as “Watling Street”.

Bruce Wiggins
Guest

Great map 🙂 Isn’t Derbentio actually Derventio
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derventio_Coritanorum

Julia Kogan
Guest

Hi Sasha, I’ve just sent you a PayPal payment. I look forward to getting the poster.

Great work, thanks!

Julia

Will Perrin
Guest

What is Watling Street II?

Elaine Edgar
Guest

This looks fab- but you missed us off 🙁
Epiacum Roman Fort near Alston in Cumbria! ( although the fort is actually in Northumberland)
Take a look at
http://Www.epiacumheritage.org
It’s been called “arguably the best preserved Roman Fort in the Empire” by Stewart Ainsworth

A great idea to present Roman Britain this way -looks fab!

Martin
Guest

Where is Dacorum though? Hemel Hempstead is a big town.

Martin Storer
Guest
Hi Sasha Great work. I live in Penrith near Brougham close to the route of the road titled Wattling St II – it’s known locally as “High Street” (Ref. OS) since it impressively goes over some fairly high hills in the Cumbrian Mountain Range. Reading your comments trail the map seems to be evolving with time and I wondered whether it may be more efficient for you to put the maps in a secure part of a website where subscribers (including those who have already paid) can simply download the version they want. Payments would be taken automatically to your… Read more »
Marc Widdowson
Guest

Hi. I sent you a payment through PayPal yesterday. I included my email address in the comment. I have not received anything yet.

Ian Perryman
Guest

“Why are the names of roads in English?”

Sarn Helen isn’t English or Anglo-Saxon.
Sarn is a Welsh word that means ’causeway’.

Tradition has that it’s named after named after Saint Elen of Caernarfon, a Celtic saint, whose story is told in The Mabinogion. (Wikipedia)

But it might be a corruption of the the Welsh name ‘Sarn y Lleng’, the causeway of the legions.